About the Shakespeare Society of Japan

The Shakespeare Society of Japan (hereafter the Society) is a not-for-profit, academic organization devoted to the study of the works of William Shakespeare.

The Society advances academic exchange among Japanese Shakespeareans and promotes partnership with researchers abroad by publishing Shakespeare Studies, Shakespeare News, and various commemorative publications, as well as by hosting conferences, the Shakespeare Festival, lectures, and workshops.

A Brief History

The forerunner of the Society was the Shakespeare Association of Japan, which was founded in Tokyo in 1929 under the presidency of Professor Sanki Ichikawa of the Imperial University of Tokyo. The Honorary President of the Association was Shoyo Tsubouchi, who had single-handedly translated the complete works of Shakespeare into Japanese. One of the objectives of this organization was to promote an amicable Anglo-Japanese relationship. The cultural activities of the Association therefore suffered a serious setback during the mid-1930s, when the political situation in Japan increasingly veered towards war. During World War II, the Association came to a virtual standstill.

In 1961, after some 15 years' suspension of its activities, the Shakespeare Association restarted under a new name, the Shakespeare Society of Japan. The new Society set out to promote Shakespeare studies in Japan and its membership was opened to everyone who was interested in Shakespeare and Elizabethan Drama. This Society was founded under the presidency of Fumio Nakajima (1961-75), and the ensuing Presidents and their presidential periods are as follows: Jiro Ozu (1975-88), Yasunari Takahashi (1989-97), Yasuo Tamaizumi (1997-99), Tetsuo Kishi (1999-2001), Yuji Kaneko (2001-05), Akiko Kusunoki (2005-09) and Mami Adachi (2009- ).

One of the most memorable events in the history of the Society was the Fifth World Shakespeare Congress of 1991, which the Society arranged as host organization. This Congress was attended by more than 700 delegates from over 40 countries around the world.